Ontario Licence Plate Sticker Renewal Guide (2024)

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Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated on March 6, 2024

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Aren Mirzaian</span>
By Aren Mirzaian

Updated March 6, 2024

Visit author page

4 minute read

Article Contents

Ontario Licence Plate Stickers Renewal Guide (2023)

Ontario Introducing Automatic Licence Plate Renewals in 2024

For all Ontario drivers, whether you’re behind the wheel of a commercial truck, a motorcycle, or a car, keeping your license plate renewed is a legal requirement. The province may have phased out the need for physical license plate stickers and their associated costs, but the obligation to update your plate every two years without any fees remains in place. This has been the status quo up until this year.

In February 2024, the Ford government announced a significant change to the Ontario licence plate renewal process, aiming to eliminate the manual registration requirements and transition to an automatic renewal system for drivers. This decision, revealed by Premier Doug Ford, comes in response to the pressing issue of over one million expired license plates on Ontario roads, as reported by the Toronto Star.

Benefits of the Automatic License Plate Renewal System

  1. Elimination of Manual Renewals: Drivers with a clean record will no longer need to renew their licence plates manually every two years. This process is now automated, significantly reducing the administrative burden on drivers and ensuring that their registration is always up to date without any action required on their part.
  2. Cost Savings: Removing physical licence plate stickers and associated fees (previously up to $120 annually for drivers in Southern Ontario and up to $60 for those in Northern Ontario and light commercial vehicle owners) translates to direct financial savings for vehicle owners.
  3. Reduced Risk of Fines: With automatic renewals, the risk of forgetting to renew the licence plate and incurring fines worth up to $1,000 for expired plates is significantly reduced. This helps drivers avoid unnecessary penalties and legal complications.
  4. Streamlined Process: For those who still need to renew manually due to outstanding issues like insurance problems, unpaid tolls, or municipal fines, the process remains straightforward. Drivers must provide their plate number, permit number, insurance details, and odometer reading and pay any outstanding fines either online or at ServiceOntario locations.
  5. Time Savigs: By automating the renewal process for drivers with clean records, the time spent travelling to ServiceOntario locations, waiting in line, or navigating the online renewal system is eliminated. Drivers will no longer need to set reminders or rush to renew their licence plates before expiration, saving them time and stress.

Why is Licence Plate Renewal Important?

Renewing your licence plate is crucial for several reasons:

  • It keeps your vehicle’s registration up-to-date.
  • It ensures your vehicle insurance is valid and verifiable by law enforcement.

Renewing your licence plate is separate from renewing your driver’s licence. The process ensures that your vehicle is legally registered and insured, allowing for a smooth and compliant driving experience in Ontario.

How to Renew Your Ontario License Plate

Here’s what you need to know about renewing your licence plate in Ontario:

For Drivers with Clean Records:

  • Automatic Renewals: Starting in 2024, drivers in Ontario with a clean record will have their licence plates renewed automatically. If a driver’s records are in good standing, without insurance issues, unpaid tolls, or municipal fines, they will not need to manually renew their licence plates.
  • No Action Required: These drivers will not need to take any action to renew their licence plates, making the process hassle-free and ensuring they remain compliant with legal requirements without the need to remember renewal deadlines.

For Drivers with Outstanding Issues:

  • Manual Renewal Required: Drivers who have insurance issues, unpaid tolls, or municipal fines will not be eligible for automatic license plate renewal. They will need to manually renew their licence plates, which involves settling any outstanding issues associated with their vehicle.
  • Renewal Process: The renewal process for these drivers includes providing their plate number, permit number, insurance details, odometer reading, and paying any outstanding fines. They can renew online or at ServiceOntario locations, with the cost varying by vehicle and location.

Renewal Timing and Procedure

  • Frequency: Licence plates must be renewed every two years.
  • Advance Renewal: You can renew online up to 180 days before the expiry date. However, online renewal is not possible after the plate has expired.
  • In-Person Renewal: ServiceOntario centres offer in-person renewals, necessary for drivers with farm or heavy commercial vehicles over 3,000 kg.

Required Documents for Renewal

To renew your licence plate, you will need the following documents:

  • Licence plate number
  • Registration identification number (RIN)
  • Valid insurance pink slip
  • Odometer readings
  • Proof of payment for any outstanding fines
  • Vehicle safety inspection certificate for heavy-duty diesel vehicles
  • Notification to the Ministry of Transportation if you’ve moved

Auto insurance is also a prerequisite to renewing your licence plate. You’ll need to provide your insurer’s name and policy number.

Settling Outstanding Fees

If you have unpaid fines, you must settle them before renewing your licence plate sticker. These include defaulted driver fines, such as moving violations for speeding, distracted driving, drinking and driving, and stunt driving.

If you have a suspended licence, you must pay a reinstatement fee or an Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP). Learn how to deal with a suspended licence in our guide.
Other penalties you must settle include:

  • Tolls
  • Bounced cheques or failed payments
  • Parking tickets
  • Red light camera violations
  • Fees for passing stopped school buses or streetcars
  • Fees for operating unlicensed vehicles
  • Fees for automated speed enforcements

The Renewal Process: A Step-by-Step Overview

Renewing your licence plate online is straightforward:

  1. Enter your licence plate and vehicle permit number.
  2. Verify your Ontario car insurance details.
  3. Input your odometer reading.
  4. Update your contact and address information.
  5. Pay any outstanding balances related to your vehicle.
  6. Choose the renewal term (one or two years).

Remember, with the move to digital, physical stickers are no longer issued or mailed.

Ontario Licence Plate Stickers Renewal Guide (2023)

Fees and Process for Commercial Vehicles

While most personal vehicles no longer incur a fee for renewal, some commercial and specialized vehicles might. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Motorized snow vehicles: $15 in Southern Ontario; no fee in Northern Ontario.
  • Motorized mobile homes: $120 in Southern Ontario; $60 in Northern Ontario.
  • Historical vehicles: $18 across Ontario.

Commercial vehicles, especially those over 3,000 kg, follow a different renewal schedule and require specific documents, including proof of commercial insurance and a vehicle inspection certificate.

What Is a Licence Plate Sticker?

A licence plate sticker is a small, coloured sticker tacked onto a vehicle’s rear licence plate that indicates your registration expiry date.

As of 2024, licence plate stickers are no longer physically issued. Drivers who still have physical stickers can apply for a direct refund, given that they have no outstanding balances, fees, or tolls.

However, vehicles registered under a business entity are not eligible for a licence plate sticker refund.

Conclusion: Embracing the New Normal

The transition to automatic licence plate renewals in Ontario is a significant move towards modernizing vehicle registration. By understanding these changes, drivers can ensure they remain compliant with provincial regulations, enjoying a hassle-free renewal process. For those ineligible for automatic renewals due to outstanding issues, addressing these promptly will ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

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